Bob Gatty
Bob Gatty, a former congressional aide, covers news from Washington for Urology Times.
MedPAC to Congress: Drop SGR, increase payments
Washington--Congress has received a detailed recommendation from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) that would result in an average payment increase of an estimated 2.8% for next year, rather than continued cuts as projected by Medicare.
CMS fails to use AUA data in practice expense RVU update
Washington--When 2006 began, there was somewhat of a mess in Washington involving Medicare reimbursement, and that was especially true for urologists. At press time, some of those issues were being resolved, but, even so, there will likely be fallout that will at least inconvenience urologists and their staffs.
Quality, performance measures make haste slowly
Washington--In November 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that as many as 98,000 Americans were being killed each year by medical mistakes and made recommendations it said could slash that rate in half within 5 years.
CMS forges ahead with pay for performance reimbursement plan
Washington--The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has every intention of moving forward with a new pay for performance system for reimbursing physicians for their services to Medicare patients, eventually ditching the current payment scheme. But it needs help from Congress to make it happen.
Congress urges FDA crackdown on epidemic of counterfeit drugs
Washington--Counterfeit prescription drugs pose a "potentially serious health threat" in the United States, one that can result in serious or deadly consequences for patients because of unscrupulous acts of profiteers who take advantage of a lack of uniform regulation and enforcement.
Pay for performance bill packs a mixed bag of issues
Washington--Legislation backed by AUA to abolish the controversial Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula in the Medicare fee schedule also contains provisions designed to implement a payment system based on "pay for performance," a plan to compensate physicians according to the quality of care they provide.
Proposed Medicare reforms look like good news for urologists
Washington--Months of intensive lobbying and hard work have paid off for urologists, who now have an outside shot at a net Medicare fee schedule increase for their services, compared with the overall 4.3% reduction for 2006 announced in March.
CMS puts CAP on hold, final rule expected by year's end
Washington--Urologists and other physicians now have some breathing room as they seek to decide whether to participate in the new Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP) established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for drugs administered in the office.
Physician-owned hospitals face restrictions, referral cuts
Washington--The federal government is preparing restrictions on the physician-owned specialty hospital industry, an emerging field it says could be a financial boon to physician investors and unfair competition to traditional hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.
Pay for performance plan viewed warily by physicians
Washington--The federal government is considering a new, revolutionary method of reimbursing physicians for Medicare services that could ultimately replace the current system that many complain is filled with inequity.

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